I am not a gardener. I come from a long line of non-gardeners, people predisposed to killing things rather than growing things. This is not intentional on my part. It is, however, a dirty little reality that saddens my heart, especially living in Florida where most people can grow anything.
My little sister, Jan, however, has thumbs of green.
She loves to get down on her hands and knees, burying her fingers in the dirt, planting, pulling, corralling her cone flowers and navigating through her native wild flowers. She delights in the process–the results are enjoyable because she invested in the process.
Don’t get me wrong. I love gardens. The wild, flowers-growing-in-mad-disarray kind, where there’s an abundance of color and movement and depth. A party of posies, a riot of richness–with no supervision.
Some would call that a meadow. No known gardener in sight.
So imagine my dismay when my dear husband wants to do yard work.
I can do the mowing. It’s dealing with what few plants and bushes we have that gets me.
We have three bushes in our backyard called golden trumpets. We had four, but between mowing over the short one, pulling out weeds while disregarding the small stature of the fourth bush, and generally ignoring it completely, we’ve replanted that fourth one three times. And we need to do it again.
Having had a freeze this winter, the growth on these bushes was looking loopy. Sparse and naked along spindly branches, flowers and leaves on top. It was decided that they should be pruned. And when we get yet another fourth bush, all of them would be equally stumpy.
I don’t like pruning. I like growth–even if it’s sparse and naked. I didn’t want to cut these bushes at all. They’d worked so hard to get where they were. Without any help or encouragement from me.
Jan would have reminded me that pruning really helps growth. She would have said it was good for the plant. She would have added that it makes the plant look better.
I would have said, “You can say that because you’re not the bush.”
But Jan would be right. After hesitatingly pruning the first bush, feeling every nip and cut vicariously with my bush, it did look better, though now it was completely naked and stumpy. But I could see the freshness of life at the places we’d cut branches.
Pruning is painful. But necessary.
“I am the true grapevine, and My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit SO THEY WILL PRODUCE EVEN MORE.” John 15:1-2
Pruning is purposeful, even in its pain. There are areas of my life that need to be snipped away, cut out, so that I might be more the person my Creator made me to be. A better bloom in His hands. A purposeful posie.